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  • Rams say adios to Atogwe

    Posted by Mike Florio on June 2, 2010 6:48 AM ET via ProFootballTalk.com

    When the clock struck 12 in St. Louis (technically, 11:00 p.m. local time), Rams safety O.J. Atogwe became a restricted free agent with no restrictions.

    Howard Balzer of the St. Louis Globe-Democrat reports the change in Atogwe's status, which occurred due to a provision of the labor deal requiring teams to re-issue RFA tenders on June 1, and which would have required the Rams to offer Atogwe nearly $7 million in order to keep him.

    The move comes as no surprise. When the Rams opted to tender Atogwe at the lowest possible level -- the only level that did not allow the $1.226 million offer to be trumped by 110 percent of his 2009 franchise-player salary -- it became obvious that the Rams wouldn't be re-issuing the tender three months later, when the rules require the team to offer at least 110 percent of the prior year's salary, regardless of the level that previously was tendered.

    Per Balzer, the Rams tried throughout the day to work out a new deal with Atogwe. It's possible that Atogwe simply wanted to hit the open market. It's more likely that his agent had gauged the market in March and/or April, and that Atogwe knows what other teams are willing to pay.

    Unless Atogwe wants much more than any team will offer, he shouldn't be on the market for long. Indeed, by now his agent should know exactly who's interested, and exactly what they'll pay.

    Balzer points out that potentially interested teams include the Cowboys, *****, Vikings, and Dolphins. The Eagles reportedly will not be pursuing Atogwe.

    Of course, it's also possible that Atogwe will find that no one else is willing to pay him as much as the Rams would pay, and that he'll decide to stay put.

    Another issue that Atogwe will face is his ability to pass a physical. He finished the 2009 season with a potentially serious shoulder injury.

    Because Atogwe did not become an unrestricted free agent as currently defined by the CBA (i.e., a player with six or more years of service whose contract expired), the "Final Eight Plan" does not apply, allowing the Cowboys and the Vikings (and the Jets and the Saints) to pursue him without limitations.
    Last edited by TekeRam; -06-02-2010, 04:38 AM.
    I believe!:ram:

  • #2
    Re: Rams say adios to Atogwe

    O.J. Atogwe became a restricted free agent with no restrictions
    I'm pleased that we have this much clear at least.

    ;)

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Rams say adios to Atogwe

      More money in Chip's pocket on his way out the door!

      ramming speed to all

      general counsel

      Comment

      Related Topics

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      • r8rh8rmike
        Atogwe Will Skip Offseason Programs
        by r8rh8rmike
        Atogwe will skip offseason programs

        BY JIM THOMAS
        ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
        03/12/2010


        A year ago at this time, safety Oshiomogho Atogwe showed up for the start of the Rams' offseason conditioning program and took part in minicamps, OTAs (organized team activities) and training camp.

        He didn't miss a thing even though he was named the team's franchise player, an unpopular designation for players seeking long-term deals.

        But that won't be the case this year. The Rams' offseason conditioning program begins Monday, and Atogwe will not be in attendance. In fact, barring a change in contract status, Atogwe will be a no-show at all team activities this spring and summer, according to league sources.

        Atogwe and his agent have declined comment since the Rams last week tendered Atogwe at $1.226 million, the lowest possible tender as a restricted free agent for someone with Atogwe's experience level in the NFL.

        Those who know Atogwe say he's not angry, that he gets it — he understands this is the business side of the NFL. Nonetheless, those close to Atogwe say he isn't sure what to make of the Rams' low tender offer and wonders if the Rams might be dangling him as potential trade bait.

        At the low tender level, the Rams have matching rights if Atogwe gets an offer from another team. But the Rams get no draft pick compensation if they decide not to match. But if Atogwe does get an outside offer, there's nothing to stop the Rams from telling the other team: "We won't match if you give us a draft pick."

        This is the third offseason in a row that Atogwe has sought a long-term deal. He played as a restricted free agent in 2008 under a one-year tender of just over $2 million. Last year, he played for $6.34 million as the Rams' franchise player.

        Had the Rams tendered Atogwe at any other level this offseason, he would've been entitled to $6.976 million in 2010, or 110 percent of what he made last year. So at the moment the low tender is costing him $5.75 million

        The collective bargaining agreement hasn't been kind to Atogwe. Because 2010 is an uncapped year, Atogwe reverted back to restricted free agency status this offseason. With five years NFL experience, he would have been eligible for unrestricted free agency in a year with a salary cap. But in an uncapped year, it takes six years experience to be unrestricted.

        On Monday, when the Rams' start their offseason conditioning program, Atogwe will be in Hawaii for the NFL Players Association's annual convention. Once he returns, he will continue his rehab from shoulder surgery and work out on his own away from Rams Park. Before suffering the shoulder injury Dec. 6 against Chicago, Atogwe had started 60 consecutive games for St. Louis. Since becoming a full-time starter in 2006, Atogwe has more interceptions and forced fumbles...
        -03-12-2010, 11:23 AM
      • MauiRam
        Atogwe will remain with Rams
        by MauiRam
        Atogwe will remain with Rams
        By Jim Thomas
        ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
        04/19/2008

        NOVEMBER 11, 2007--Oshiomogho Atogwe #21 of the St. Louis Rams is tackled after making an interception by David Patten #81 of the New Orleans Saints.
        (Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

        Apparently, the first-round tender offer placed on Rams safety Oshiomogho "O.J." Atogwe by the team was steep enough to scare off any potential suitors.

        Friday was the deadline for restricted free agents to receive contract offers from other NFL teams. And by late Friday afternoon, the Rams had received no such offer sheet on Atogwe. The exact deadline was 11 p.m. Friday, but league sources told the Post-Dispatch earlier in the day that none would be forthcoming.

        Had Atogwe gotten a contract offer, the Rams would have had the option to match the contract. Had they decided not to match, they would have received a first-round draft pick as compensation from the team that signed Atogwe.

        Atogwe is expected to sign his one-year tender offer of $2.017 million with the Rams in the near future. Even while in limbo, he has been a regular at the team's offseason conditioning program this spring. Eventually, the Rams want to sign Atogowe to a long-term contract, but they have had only preliminary talks with Atogwe's agent on a new deal.

        Atogwe, 26, led the NFC and was second in the NFL with eight interceptions last season. The third-round draft pick out of Stanford in 2005 finished third on the team in tackles (94) last season and also forced two fumbles
        -04-19-2008, 02:45 AM
      • ontarioramfan
        Miami Herald Article on Atogwe
        by ontarioramfan
        Heres an article echoing what i've been saying regarding atogwe and why teams havent put an offer sheet for him

        Do you like Safety O.J. Atogwe? Get in line. And wait until June 1.

        A month after the start of free agency, the Dolphins and several other NFL teams have yet to address a glaring need at free safety. Oh, sure, Miami tried. But Ryan Clark re-signed with Pittsburgh, leaving this team with the same question as the rest.

        Why not O.J. Atogwe?

        Atogwe, as you already know, is a restricted free agent tendered by the Rams at the lowest possible level. He's a solid player, and he wouldn't even require any draft-pick compensation like other expensive RFAs, such as Indianapiolis’ Antoine Bethea.

        Yet for whatever reason, teams like Miami are avoiding him as if he’s got a case of the Swine Flu and a Staph Infection all at the same time. That reason, as apparently needs to be reminded to many Dolphins fans still clamoring for Atogwe, is a bit complicated.

        The short version can be summed up with a one-sentence quote from one of my league sources: “Many teams know that his (Right of First Refusal) is likely to go away on June 1, so some teams have said they don’t want to do a deal that Rams would match.”
        Basically, Atogwe has the potential to become an unrestricted free agent on June 1.

        Now, for the more in-depth explanation: The Rams are currently trying to reach a long-term deal with Atogwe. Those negotiations aren’t likely to intensify until sometime between April 15 (the deadline for teams to submit offer sheets on restricted free agents) and May 31 (the last day for teams with RFAs to offer acceptable tenders).

        But there’s a catch. If the Rams can’t reach a long-term deal, and they want to keep Atogwe, they’ll have to give him an acceptable tender that pays him 110 percent of his 2009 salary with all of the same conditions as the previous contract.

        Since he had a $6.3 million guaranteed salary last season, that means the Rams would once again need to guarantee him $6.93 million – an excessive cost that can be avoided by a long-term deal.

        So when April 15 hits, the pressure will be on the Rams to reach a new deal within 45 days or else Atogwe will become an unrestricted free agent, able to sign with any other NFL team, including the Dolphins.

        For that reason, no teams are interested in providing Atogwe with an offer sheet, since that would allow the Rams to simply end their need to negotiate with Atogwe because they could simply impose their right of first refusal and match that offer.
        Instead, teams can force the Rams’ hand by making them pony up an acceptable long-term deal or suffer the potential consequences.

        From my perspective, I would imagine Atogwe would be very reluctant to finish a deal with the Rams, especially since he maintains a considerable amount...
        -03-30-2010, 05:56 AM
      • r8rh8rmike
        Atogwe Hopes To Be Back After Release From Rams
        by r8rh8rmike
        Atogwe hopes to be back after release from Rams

        BY JIM THOMAS
        Saturday, February 19, 2011

        Even with his release Friday by the Rams, safety Oshiomogho Atogwe says he hasn't closed the door on a possible return to the team.

        "My agent and myself have established a really good negotiating relationship with them, so were we to do something again (with the Rams), I don't believe it'd be a difficult task," Atogwe told the Post-Dispatch. "Because there's no bad blood there. We should be able to get something done."

        The only problem — for several years — has been agreeing on Atogwe's value in terms of a multi-year deal. Rather than pay an $8 million roster bonus that was due Atogwe on Monday, the Rams released the six-year veteran.

        "It's disappointing to be back in this situation, again," Atogwe said. "Not being able to actually be set at this point in time in my career — it's disappointing."

        The relative security of a long-term contract has proven frustratingly elusive for Atogwe, a third-round round pick out of Stanford in 2005.

        "I'd say it's frustrating along the lines that I haven't been able to feel at home since my rookie contract," Atogwe said. "Where you say, OK this team wants me for the long haul, for the long term."

        Atogwe was franchised following the 2008 season, then in a wrinkle of the uncapped year, reverted back to restricted free agency following the 2009 season. As for this offseason, there's no doubt that the current labor impasse between players and owners, and pending lockout, have caused teams to be more conservative financially.

        "Yeah, it has been difficult," Atogwe said. "I think that's why it's very important for us to really get a CBA done, in place and secure, so that other guys won't have to go through a similar situation as myself. And that the teams can really move on in paying their bills and grow for the long term. But for me it's definitely frustrating. I'm thankful that I still have peace throughout this, knowing that it's going to work out the way it's supposed to."

        Because he is a released player, Atogwe is free to sign with any team immediately. However, if there is no collective bargaining agreement by March 4, no veteran players — even released players such as Atogwe — can sign new contracts at that time.

        So Atogwe has a 13-day window to shop the market, but he plans to wait until there's a new labor agreement before doing so.

        "I would say I'm just going to take this time to let God speak to me and go from there," Atogwe said. "I am going to wait till the market opens and then go from there."

        Besides the $8 million roster bonus, Atogwe was due a $3.5 million base salary with the Rams in 2011, meaning he would have been...
        -02-19-2011, 01:58 PM
      • schut39
        Wyche: Atogwe won’t sign tender with Rams
        by schut39
        Oshiomogho Atogwe is one of the more interesting names among restricted free agents. He was extended the low tender offer by the Rams, giving the team only the right of first refusal on its starting strong safety. From the outset, it was a situation we knew would reach a conclusion about now.

        NFL.com senior writer Steve Wyche told “NFL Total Access” on Monday that Atogwe will not sign his tender. That decision increases the likelihood that Atogwe will be someone else’s starting strong safety next season.

        The key date in the whole scenario is June 1. The Rams continue to hold exclusive negotiating rights with Atogwe and can try to sign him to a long-term deal. On June 1, because the Rams tendered Atogwe at $1.226 million (significantly less than his 2009 salary), they hold the option of extending an offer at 110 percent of his salary (nearly $7 million) to retain his rights or releasing him to become an unrestricted free agent.

        Atogwe, who played under a $6.3 million franchise tag in 2009, ended the season by missing the final four games with a shoulder injury. Time is running out, and we’ll soon find out if the Rams — who acquired Kevin Payne from the Bears last month — have completely closed the door on Atogwe.


        NFL Network
        -05-10-2010, 05:54 PM
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